Please join us for our lecture series, featuring world-class scientists and modern day marine adventures at The Florida Aquarium.

For a listing of all 2015 speakers, please click here.

Complimentary Reception: 5:45 p.m.

Featured Presentation: 6:15 p.m.

Please RSVP here or call 813-273-4568.


April 29, 2015

Jeffry I. Fasick, Ph.D.,

University of South Florida
College of Marine Science and USF St. Petersburg

The Urban Whale: Science & Conservation of the North Atlantic Right Whale
Sensory physiology experiments on Baleen whales are impossible to do at sea. It is easier to examine genes of sensory receptors to learn about how whales perceive their environment. How might vision prevent accidental entanglements of Right whales in fishing gear-specifically lobster pot lines?

Can whales detect colored ropes at a distance compared to fishing lines? Detecting gear at a distance could be critical in executing avoidance behavior that prevents entanglement.
Dr. Jeff Fasick grew up outside of Chicago and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After completing a BS in Ecology, Ethology and Evolution, he interned at the Brookfield Zoo, working with dolphins, seals, sea lions and walrus.

He landed a job at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and completed a master’s degree at University of Maryland Baltimore County. He then attended UMBC full time for his Ph.D. and thesis, focused on dolphin vision.

Do dolphins see color? The question took four years to answer; unlike most mammals, dolphins are color-blind! He began a fellowship at Brandeis University in Boston, answering questions about how cone photoreceptors get “tuned” to a specific color. What makes one pigment sensitive to blue light while another is sensitive to ultraviolet? To answer, he turned his attention to cows and mice! He then took a detour to work on cancer therapeutics and is now at USF where he continues dolphin and whale research. Once we understand how they survive in their environment, humans can change behavior to protect these fascinating animals.


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